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Customer Intuition: Women Know When to Spend More

Customer intuition discovers woman's intuition. MarketingVox reports on a study that finds that women spend more than men on travel sites for plane tickets, rental cars and hotel bookings.

This is not surprising as many women have understandably different criteria when making travel plans. Safety, convenience, comfort, and image are important to women. Additionally, since many women are major multitaskers it's likely that they simply don't want to spend a lot of valuable/billable time comparison shopping and bargain hunting. By not spending an extra hour making a complex search and booking women know they can get back to the work at hand.

Women are smart. They know what's worth paying for.

Any smart women want to share their approach to making travel arrangements?

January 31, 2005 in Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, CMO, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jet Blue Gets a Valuable Insight

I hope somebody at the airline Jet Blue reads Slate. If they do they will learn about a leading indicator that at least one prominent customer is using to predict the quality of experience he is going to have with Jet Blue.

I like JetBlue, but some of the planes seem to be getting a little grotty. Five hours inhaling the rich aroma of seats that have been sat in by thousands of sweaty travelers on the packed flights of an airline that can't afford to deep clean the interior too often--not so pleasant! But JetBlue also has lots of new planes, and I've discovered a secret, near-foolproof way to tell the new ones from the old ones without memorizing tail numbers: They all have a "name" painted on the nose, a name with the word "Blue" in it. The earlier, older planes got the obvious names ("True Blue"). Later planes, of necessity, got more far-fetched names ("Here's Looking at Blue, Kid"). In other words, you can tell how skanky your JetBlue plane is going to be by how stupid its name is. The stupider the better. When I saw that the plane for my return flight was called "Devil with a Blue Dress," my heart soared. Sure enough, it was a grot-free flight. ... Next time I'm hoping for "Me & You & a Plane Named Blue."
This is the kind of valuable insight into your own operations that you can garner from tracking your business name and keywords on blogs. Better get over to Technorati and set up some watchlists and keyword search feeds right away. Especially if you are with Jet Blue, you'll want to find out how many blogs are picking up on this comment from Slate.

via B2Day

January 27, 2005 in award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Blogging Tools, Building Customer Community, Business newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Building B2B Relationships: Colaboration Tool

Sarah Eaton over at our sister blog Betuitive: Actionable Results points to great stuff all the time. Today she points to a great tool for collaboration with customers. Working on a project together? Why not create and share a to-do list online. Sarah points to the tool here.

While you are there be sure and grab the feed. You'll find some interesting stuff.

January 27, 2005 in award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, Blog Outsourcing, Building Customer Community, Business newsletter, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Intuiton Tool: Check Out The Customer's Neighborhood With A9

Amazon's A9 search engine has added an interesting feature to it's yellow pages function. In the top ten cities Amazon has photographed every city block. A search for a business in any of these cities now includes a picture of their location.

If you are like me the first thing I do when learning a customer's address is to drop that address into a search engine to learn who else is located at that same address. Knowing what other businesses share a building might be a good way to prompt a customer to refer you to them. "Do you know anybody across the hall at xyz corp?"

This application, while not entirely accurate at times, provides useful information about a customer's neighborhood. Planning to meet with a new customer? Why not suggest that you meet in that coffee shop you saw three doors down from their building.

On a darker note this service can also help you discover when a customer or prospect is using a PO box service or false address. Useful stuff.

try it here (click on yellow pages upper left)

[read USA Today story]

January 27, 2005 in award winning newsletter, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Brand enhancement, build credibility, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Travel, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Usability A Factor in CRM Systems

When I worked in a large non-profit organization we used a custom CRM type system that tracked interactions with over 50,000 people. I hated the system because I new things could be better, faster and more useful. In fact, I only used it to pull contact details into my own system that I used to monitor and build relationships with the 250+ people I was involved with. There was constant discussion and analysis of the system by all who used it.

Dave over at B2Blog has a summation of his experience with the different types of CRM system users that really resonates:

Power-user: One who wants to make the most of the tool they've been given and are willing to explore its capabilities. Symptom: "I think I screwed something up." Thankfully, I'm not the only one.

Power-ignorant: Those who use the software, but aren't aware how the software is there to benefit them and make their lives earlier. Symptom: "I didn't know you could do that."

Power-less: Those who simply don't understand what to do. Most likely these are field salespeople somehow. Symptom: "Can you show me that again?"

Power-trip: One who understands the software and its capability but takes short-cuts or does it the old way. Symptom: "I'll figure that out later."

These classifications apply to many different software and technology systems.

What's important here are the Tells or symptoms that indicate which category a user is in. Keeping this in mind will help you see just what the effectiveness of your system is. There are two ways to think about your CRM system. One, what are the real results, the ROI of the system. Two, what is the frustration level for the users. Are the means to the end subtracting from the end? Are productivity losses overshadowing the gains from the system?


January 24, 2005 in award winning newsletter, Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Brand enhancement, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, CMO, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Intuition Tool: NicheBot

Building customer intuition is all about using available tools to replicate the kind of leading indicators you would get from a face to face interaction with a customer. If you were able to have face time with each of your many customers you would be able to know what they are interested in or passionate about based on the content of your conversation with them.

In the online world what people are interested in gets condensed into search keywords. Tools that help you see and select relevant and effective keywords are essential elements in your customer intuition toolbox.

NichebotNicheBot is a tool that helps you see the effectiveness of your current keywords and help you select new and related keywords. A tool like this helps you to optimize both your keyword advertising and your blog targeting and content development.

Have a look.

January 21, 2005 in Blog Outsourcing, Blogging Tools, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, CMO, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Knowing The Emotional State of Your Callers

I am sure you have had the experience of returning to your office after a lengthy meeting or lunch mission only to find your voicemail full of increasingly frantic or angry messages from customers. Often these messages are mixed together with several other more calm less urgent messages. What if you received text messages that indicated not only that you have a message but indicated the emotional state of the caller?

The New Scientist reports on a new system being developed that will analyze voice messages and label those that are urgent, happy, calm, etc.

A voicemail system that labels messages according to the caller's tone of voice could soon be helping people identify which messages are the most urgent. The software, called Emotive Alert, is designed by Zeynep Inanoglu and Ron Caneel of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US.

It might be installed at the phone exchange or in an intelligent answering machine, where it will listen to incoming messages and send the recipient a text message along with an emoticon indicating whether the message is urgent, happy, excited or formal.

It works by extracting the distribution of volume, pitch and speech rate - the ratio of words to pauses - in the first 10 seconds of each message, and then comparing them with eight stored "acoustical fingerprints" that roughly represent eight emotional states: urgent or not urgent; formal or informal; happy or sad; excited or calm.

The fingerprints were created by "learning" software, which was fed hundreds of snippets from old voicemail messages that had been assigned emotional labels by the researchers. In use, the software looks for the acoustical fingerprint that is closest to the characteristics of the voice message and sends the recipient the corresponding emoticon. It also sends a text message indicating the two best-matching emotional labels.

While this technology is not yet ready for prime time it does indicate the future potential of technology to "read" the subtle and not so subtle cues in human behavior that will help people build better working and personal relationships. That's what we call customer intuition.


January 19, 2005 in award winning newsletter, Blog Outsourcing, build credibility, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The String Cheese Incident has Great Customer Intuition

SciphotoI have to admit that I had never heard of the band String Cheese Incident before I read the article in FSB magazine. Turns out this band is really crafting a new model for others in the music industry. The String Cheese Incident is a multi million dollar operation with 45 employees and revenue of $14.5 million dollars.

The story really gets interesting when you read how intuitive they are when it comes to discerning the needs and desires of their customers=fans. Not only do they publish and market their own CDs and merchandise through their website, they have fought Ticketmaster and won the ability to handle their own ticketing to their live concerts. A popular move with fans tired of paying the high Ticketmaster fees.

How else have they intuited the needs and desires of their fans? Realizing that their fanbase is not unlike that of the Grateful Dead in their desire to follow the band. The String Cheese Incident has formed a travel company to help make travel arrangements for those wanting to follow the band on tour. The appeal being that the agency knows the needs of both fans following their favorite acts and the travel needs of musicians themselves. The company also arranges travel for other bands as well.

Additionally, the String Cheese Incident supports their fans efforts to evangelize their music and bring new fans to the band by selling MP3s of their live performances on their website. The files are reported to be free of copy protection thereby enabling fans to share them with their friends.

In your own business is their a sister need that your customers have that you could help them with? It's like selling milk to go with your cereal or hammer to go with those nails.


More ways to Build Customer Intuition.

January 17, 2005 in Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Brand enhancement, Travel | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Newsletter Content: Visit A Customer

FieldvisitSigns Never Sleep is a blog that chronicles the life of a small sign company in small town New Hampshire. Recently a team of people from Gerber Scientific, a sign making equipment supplier, paid them a visit for some hands on experience in a customer's business. JD seemed to be pleased to welcome them and clearly put them right to work on real projects.

When was the last time your team visited customers and worked along side of them using your products? Do this a few times and you will definitely build your customer intuition.

Why do this:

Create Empathy with Customers - Visiting customers in their work environment helps create an understanding of the pressures people are under when using your products or services. Gain an understanding of what the dynamics of the industry are. Put human skin on the costs of your offerings.

Spot Valuable Hacks - Watching someone use your product or integrate your service into their business is a great opportunity to see unique and novel ways in which people use your products. Knowing why people do tasks in certain orders, what other products or tools are people using in combination with yours, discovering what your customers have tried and failed to do with your products and what wild things they have tried and been successful with are all valuable insights that can help you understand the future direction of product development.

Spot Opportunities - Talking with and observing customers during their normal work process can help you understand what challenges an opportunities they are facing and provide a wealth of ideas for new product development and innovation.

Building Relationships - A mutually beneficial customer visit helps to build a mutually beneficial relationship based on understanding and trust. Both businesses can use the event in their marketing communication. Both companies can look to each other for expertise. There may certainly be opportunities for marketing or product development partnerships going forward.

These of course are only some of the reasons for a working visit to customers. There are of course some additional benefits like team building and interpersonal relationship development among your own team members.

In any event now at the beginning of a new year is a great time to put some working customer visits on your calendar. Don't forget your camera to get those great pics for the email newsletter or company blog.

January 12, 2005 in award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Blogging Tools, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, bulk email marketing, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications, CMO, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Intuition Starts in the Parking Lot

Here's an example of the cool intuitive things people are doing with flickr.

The Parking Lot Indicatr project invites people to submit cameraphone pictures of company parking lots during off hours. Intuiting that high levels of off hours work activity as indicated by populated parking lots indicates that a company is close to a product release or a major breakthrough/ announcement. This the organizer feels is a good indication of a positive move in stock prices.

I recommend parking lot studys to access the health of a potential customer's business. A full or empty parking lot can say a lot about a doctor's paractice, a restaurant, or a shipping and receiving company. While it can be difficult to track this information remotely, projects like these can bring useful intuitive data right to you via the internet.

January 11, 2005 in Blog Outsourcing, build credibility, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, CMO, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack